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pitigliano italy architecture

Pitigliano Rises Above the Tuscan Countryside

In the Grosseto province of Tuscany, a volcanic ridge rises high above the countryside. Perfectly situated above that ridge is the small town of Pitigliano, which holds some of Tuscany’s more fascinating architecture. The small town dates back to 1061, where it was first mentioned in historical data. In the early 13th century it became the property of a private family. It subsequently passed ownership between the government and other private families until 1562.

One of the most fascinating highlights of Pitigliano is the volcanic plateau it sits atop of. There are ‘cuts’ into the tufa rock which date back to the earliest history of the town. These cuts range in depth from three and a half feet down to a depth of over 10 feet. Some were used for water irrigation, but the majority were used as steps and walkways that create a small navigation network through the town. A few others have carve-outs that have served as shops or homes for the people of Pitigliano.

The architecture of Pitigliano is inspiring, some dating back to the 12th century. The Palazzo Orisini is a fortress that rises up above the city’s entrance. The fortress walls ensconce the city and the fortress itself is now a museum of art. The Chiesa di San Rocco is the oldest church in Pitigliano and dates back to the 12th century.  During a recent preservation and renovation of the church, ancient tombs were discovered and are leading historians on an adventure of the town’s ancestry. The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul were built during the Middle Ages and remodeled in baroque style in the late 16th century. You will also find a 16th century aqueduct that runs the length of the town. The Jewish synagogue is a ‘must see’ in this ancient city as it dates back to the 15th century. Jews first settled in Pitigliano in the 15th century, fleeing from the Papal State of the Catholic Church and thrived for centuries afterwards. As the community grew, the town became known as La Piccola Gerusalemme or Little Jerusalem.

From the ADG Jobsite 

It’s all about the leather. Thanks Rachael Goddard for the opportunity to have fun together!

Adg Featured Fixture Custom

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

colmar, france, architecture, adg

Colmar Architecture Dazzles Travelers off the Beaten Path

Colmar, France is a picturesque village in the northeastern part of France, along the Rhine River and the German Border. This historic region of France is known as the Alsace region and reminds visitors of being in Venice. Colmar features cobblestone streets running alongside the canals, which are surrounded by half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings stacked above. The town dates back to 800 A.D. and has been ruled by Germany, Sweden, Italy and finally France. It is also the birthplace of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who is best known as the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.

The main attraction to Colmar is the architecture. The Renaissance architecture of the region dates between the 14th and the 17th centuries in Europe. It demonstrates a conscious revival and development of elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material. It stylistically followed Gothic architecture, and was succeeded by the Baroque style of architecture. Renaissance architecture places style emphasis on symmetry, proportion and geometry.

Colmar features secular and religious architectural landmarks that reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials, such as pink and yellow Vosges sandstone and timber frame. The picturesque city’s architecture remains amazingly intact and transports the traveler back to the earliest part of European history. The Old Town is a beautiful historic area and lies between the Rue des Têtes, the Rue des Clefs, and the Rue des Marchands near the Place de la Cathédrale. Admire the rebuilt Gothic church of Collégiale Saint-Martin. Visitors can see the Ancien Corps de Garde, which has been everything from a marketplace to a justice hall to a themed military housing district. One of the oldest buildings in Colmar, The Maison Adolph, was built in 1350 for the Adolph family.

A visit to Colmar will take you back to the earliest history of Europe. There are so many architectural attractions and features, one can get lost appreciating and exploring the grandeur for days.

From the ADG Jobsite  

Our ring pendant at a high rise in San Francisco, in collaboration with Triomphe Design

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 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

pritzker architecture prize, Stephen Breyer

Pritzker Architecture Prize Committee Now Led By Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been named as the chairman of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize committee by the family that sponsors the prize. He will head a seven member jury of experts from around the globe. Tom Pritzker, executive chairman of the Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp, stated:

“His devotion to civic-minded architecture underscores the mission of the prize and his unparalleled ability to guide a group deliberation is essential in creating a unified voice within this diverse and internal panel of jurors.”

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or those architects who have distinguished themselves through work that displays commitment, talent and vision in architecture. The award was founded in 1979 by Jay and Cindy Pritzker and is funded by the Pritzker family, with the Hyatt Foundation serving as a corporate sponsor. It is most often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Architecture and has a steadfast reputation for recognizing architects irrespective of race, nationality or ideology. Some of the most notable architects who have received the coveted award include Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was born in San Francisco in 1938 and attended Harvard Law School, where he joined the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in 1964. He went on to teach as Harvard Law for over two decades. He subsequently served as an assistant prosecutor during the Watergate hearings and was sworn in to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Justice Breyer has never studied architecture, but has a long-standing devotion and interest in the field. In 1999, he was one of  the two judges who served as advisors to the architects of the federal courthouse in Boston which opened in 1999. He has been a distinguished member of the Pritzker Architecture Prize jury since 2011.

From the ADG Jobsite

A collaboration with M. Elle Design

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

los angeles, historic architecture, adg

Los Angeles Celebrates the Return of the Pup

Who says you can’t teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks! Thanks to the 1933 Group, the iconic Los Angeles Tail O’ the Pup will be coming back into service very soon. The Pup was one of  the finest examples of mimetic style architecture that dotted the landscape of Los Angeles. It is one of the last surviving buildings in this style within the SoCal region.

The Tail O’ the Pup was designed by architect Milton Black in 1946 and opened to a typical Hollywood welcome of search-lit, star-studded fanfare that only Los Angeles can offer. During the 1980’s, it was scheduled for demolition, despite being a highly popular eatery and a regular feature location for TV, film and commercial programs. This effort met with a loud outcry from the Los Angeles community. As a result, the Pup was moved from its original location at La Cienega and Beverly Boulevards, to the nearby location it last occupied on North San Vicente boulevard.

In December 2005, the Pup was evicted and moved to a storage warehouse in Torrance. It was subsequently declared a cultural landmark by the city of Los Angeles. While the owners tried to find the right fit for a new ownership partner for the Pup, the structure was donated to the the Valley Relics Museum, where it waited on restoration. Recently, the Blake Family (owners) found the right partner for the Pup in the 1933 Group.

Currently, the 1933 Group is seeking the right street-facing location in either West Hollywood or Hollywood and is committed to bring back the menu people crave. They know they have one of the coolest, most iconic bits of Los Angeles culture and they want to totally respect that history.

From the ADG Jobsite    

New chandelier for a modern home, in collaboration with Details a Design Firm.

adg, custom lighting, architecture

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

fbi

FBI Building Becomes the Target of POTUS

 

The FBI and the President of the United States (POTUS) are squaring off again for what appears to be another battle royale! No, this time it is not about Russian collusion, James Comey or the dozens of other political battles that rage between POTUS and the FBI. This battle is about the existence of the current FBI HQ in Washington, DC. Will it continue to stand or will it be relocated to the suburbs? That is the question that has lit a fire between the two opponents.

From 1908 until 1975, the FBI was located in the Department of Justice (DOJ) building in Washington, DC. This was an ideal arrangement, as the DOJ is a parent organization to the FBI and makes perfect logistical sense. Due to the growth of the FBI and the expanding role of the organization in the long term, a decision was made to house the FBI in a separate building away from the DOJ. This also met higher level security requirements for the safety and appearance of an independent investigative agency. A formal request for the project was approved in 1941, but was delayed due to the onset of WWII. The second request was made in 1962 for the new construction, which was approved. In October of 1967, the National Capital Planning Commission approved the project with 2,800,876 sq. feet of space for a planned 7,090 employees. The building had to meet height limits on one side of seven stories and 11 stories on the other, complying with the current DC code requirements. Construction started in December of 1967 and finished in May 1975. The building was officially named the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in May 1972 by President Nixon, two days after Hoover’s death.  President Ford officially dedicated the building in September of 1975.

This historic building is now showing its age, and there is a movement afoot by POTUS to raze the structure. This is where the battle begins. POTUS has submitted a plan to destroy the building and construct a new facility on the existing grounds. He believes it to be the “ugliest of all ugly buildings” in DC and needs to go. The second plan submitted by Government Accounting Office (GAO) is to tear down the building and construct a new HQ building in the Virginia suburbs, where their current training academy is located. Detractors of POTUS say that he is trying to control what is built on the existing property when the FBI leaves. It just happens to be across the street from the Trump Hotel. They claim POTUS wants total control to prevent any competitor’s building near his property. The detractors of the GAO plan state that the Virginia move is significantly more expensive, and the fact that two Democratic Senators from Virginia are leading the effort makes it an immediate dead issue.

As the political battle rages between the FBI, POTUS, the GAO and Congress, the real focus is diminished. The real issue is that the current J. Edgar Hoover FBI HQ is a historical landmark. We should be debating a functional and respectful design that is befitting the status of all other landmarks of our nation’s capital.

From the Factory Floor

Fixture arrived safely in Utah!! Great collaboration with M. Elle Design and Forest Studio.

 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

yugoslavia, architecture, custom lighting

Yugoslavia and the Lost Art of Socialist Architecture

When the iron curtain descended on Eastern Europe after World War II, the citizens of Yugoslavia found themselves suffering from the aftermath of global combat and yearning for the promised comfort of socialism. Stalinism had taken hold and made promises of work, food and housing as a right of every citizen. What these new socialists didn’t understand was there was a huge gap between what their leaders felt as ‘quality’ services and what the people thought was quality. Those promises didn’t keep their citizens warm in Eastern Europe and there was a dire need for apartment buildings to properly shelter their comrades. Im most of the eastern bloc, architects and planners were told by the state how to design and what they should design. There was no room for creativity. It was all up to the vision of the state. This was not the case in Yugoslavia. 

Yugoslavia was led by Marshal Tito, who had a vision that greatly differed from other iron curtain leaders. Even though he was a brutal dictator and led with an iron fist,  he had a unique world vision and took advantage of realistic political opportunities. Yugoslavia was located between east and west, and had a multiethnic population with a multiplicity of architectural traditions.  This allowed Tito to allow local control and architectural ideas start flowing from the bottom, not the top. Architectural opportunities emerged out of Tito’s political opportunism.

Socialists Explore Architecture in Yugoslavia

Architects were able to take advantage of Tito’s socioeconomic policies and build structures that were significantly more creative, innovative and truly support the needs of the people of Yugoslavia. This greatly separated the creative design of Yugoslavia under socialism and the cookie-cutter designs of the remainder of the iron curtain.   

Check out the MoMA exhibit titled Toward a Concrete Utopia:
Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980
.


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